Friday, February 29, 2008

To Make Y'all Feel Better About Yourselves...

I've been getting some comments via email about how well I'm handling this transition to three children and how some of you think you could never do so well, which only makes me laugh.

So, to make you feel better, I give you the visual image of my eldest daughter sitting next to me at the kitchen table at 7:30pm, wolfing down a reheated pyrex dish of macaroni and cheese like it was the finest gourmet food in the world.

Keep that picture in your mind...

I thought I had things pretty together today. Little Lamb's been fed at the right intervals and I carried her around when she was awake while I did whatever it was I was doing (nothing particularly interesting today, sorry). Bluebird and Rabbit played well, I got them into the bath and even washed their hair and got them clothed in pajamas that were clean and folded and put away...I was rather pleased with myself.

And then I put them to bed with their lights and books and said good night. Blubird came out about twenty minutes later and said her stomach hurt because she was hungry...

Wait for it...

...I TOTALLY forgot to make dinner.

There ya go, feel better...the transition is going well, but not perfectly. :)

The Self Image Problems Apparently Begin at Four

Last night, around 8pm...

Bluebird comes out of her bedroom and hops up into the dining room chair beside me and starts chattering.

Me: "[Bluebird], why are you out here? It's bedtime, go back into your room and get back into bed."

Bluebird: "But I want to stay up and talk with you."

Me: "I already spent fifteen minutes laying in your bed and talking to you, we can talk more tomorrow...go to bed."

Bluebird: "But I can't go to bed!"

Me: [exasperated sigh] "Why can't you go to bed?"

Bluebird: "Because I'm too short!"

Me: [brief pause] ..."You're too...short?"

Bluebird: "Yeah, I can't go to sleep because I'm TOO SHORT!"

Me: [look of confusion]

Bluebird: [starts chattering again]

Me: "[Bluebird], you're not too short to go to sleep, now get back in your room and go to bed."

Bluebird: [bursts into tears] "Yes I am too short to go to sleep!"

Me: "GO."

Bluebird: [slides down from chair and, while crying, returns to her room and turns around to face me in the doorway] "I am TOO SHORT to sleep! I can never go to sleep again! You ruined my sleep!" [shuts door]

She was asleep within ten minutes. Too short to sleep? Where in the world did she get that?!?!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

*Blank Stare*

Mr. Brooke left yesterday at 2:30pm.

It has now been about 29 hours of solo parenting of two plus a newborn.

It's not going so bad, but it's very tiring.

He'll be home tomorrow...after the girls go to bed.

I will stare off blankly into space after they go to bed tomorrow night as well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Four Year Old is Addicted to the Internet...

...I've know this for a while now, and forced myself not to worry about it until after the baby arrived. Well, Baby has arrived and I'm feeling more like my old self, so the internet addiction must be broken.

While I'm opposed to young people using computers on a regular basis, I wish to express my thanks to the folks at PlayhouseDisney.com for keeping my eldest entertained these past two months while I was too large to do anything but sit in my rocking chair and make feeble attempts at preparing meals. She has enjoyed the time with the Disney gang immensely, but I find that she's extremely exciteable and irritable when she's spent time with Mr. Laptop and I need that to end. (And the fact that the "x" and "d" keys no longer work smoothly...yeah.)

Why do I mention this to you, dear readers? Because it will affect the blog. You see, the laptop is situated in the kitchen right now so Bluebird can use it and so I could avoid trips down the stairs to use it as well. In order to cut Bluebird off, I need to remove the computer to an area of the house that she cannot access, which means that I will have little access to the computer as well...don't want to leave the children unattended while I blog! So be aware, posts might get a little sparse around here in the next bit while I figure out how to "do it all" without easy access to Mr. Laptop.

On the bright side...my dog is leaving...permanently. Oh glorious day! My mother-in-law took a liking to her...I hate the dog...mother-in-law would like another dog...voila! Life continues to be good.

(Except for Mr. Brooke's work sending him to Seattle for three days. I'm not happy about that.)

(Oh, and the phone call that he got this morning at 2:30am from their office in Amsterdam that woke up Little Lamb...)

(But his work DID send me flowers after I had Little Lamb, so the irritation is lessened somewhat...)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Home and Family

I have finally finished reading the talks from the Worldwide Leadership Training meeting that the Church held at the beginning of the month. I know that my heart is especially tender at this moment due to the wonderful experience of adding another child to our family, but it seems that those talks were so perfectly suited to inspire me to be a better wife, mother and homemaker.

Yes, I'm an ardent advocate for homemaking and I stress the importance of a woman's responsibilities of wife and mother. And yes, I get blasted by a variety of people who think I'm old-fashioned or brainwashed or ignorant. It used to bother me when people would say those sorts of things to me; but I've noticed that these people, the ones who ridicule and belittle traditional family values and practices, generally seem to be the most unhappy people I've come across. What happened to those people in their pasts that has turned their hearts so strongly against the full-time presence of a loving mother and the hard work of a devoted father to support his family?

The home is the fundamental building block of society. If our homes are strong, our culture and our nation is strong. If our homes deteriorate and our children grow up with no foundation, then society will deteriorate because it will lose its foundation. Devoted parenting is needed today like it has never been needed before.

Our family is lucky/blessed that we can live within an "ideal" family unit. Mr. Brooke and I cherish our marriage and each other and we receive no other joy than is more fulfilling than to be with our children and nurture them along their paths of development. We both realize the importance of what we are doing as we were both raised by single mothers. Mr. Brooke was lucky that he didn't have to endure the captivities of daycare as I did, and we work hard to create a loving atmosphere in our home, despite how tired we may be at the end of the day. Our children are our most treasured jewels and our most prized assets. We view any time spent with them, whether it be in kneeling in their rooms and teaching them how to put away their toys, or going out on a family fun trip, as quality time. I'm a firm believer that quantity time usually translates into quality time. How many of us wished our own parents would spend more time with us on regular weeknights instead of only noticing us twice a month during a scheduled "quality time?"

My favorite memories of my childhood aren't centered around special trips or gifts, they mostly consist of spending time with my parents or knowing that my parents were simply there for me. My favorite memories are of my mother reading to me, my father picking up my brother and I on a Saturday morning so we could go play basketball together (despite the fact that I detest the sport that is basketball...), my mother laying aside her own project and inviting me to sit beside her on the couch while she taught me how to cross stitch and then the ensuing days where I would sit on the couch beside her and we both would stitch in silence. That feeling of belonging, that feeling of being noticed...that's what children need most, not fancy toys or spectacular vacations. Children crave their parents' attention and love. I think we'd all be much better parents if we looked at love as a verb--an word denoting action.

Our greatest legacies are our family and the home that they lived in. How much money we made, the contributions that we made to charity or the amount of fame we attain matter very little in the end, what will matter to anyone on their death bed will be how their children turned out and how strong their family is. Should we not then dedicate our best efforts today to uplifting and edifying these few things that end up mattering the most to us in the end?

Have dinner together every night at your own kitchen table, have Family Reading Time each evening before the children's bedtime, designate Saturday mornings as "Home Improvement Time" and work together on improving and maintaining the home that you all share, go on weekly dates with your spouse, go to the library together...there are a myriad of little ways to improved the cohesiveness of a family. And the beauty of family time is that there is no set formula; each family chooses their own ways to spend their time together (or not...). Families are individual and their activities should reflect that.

I've yet to meet a person who has devoted their life to their family and found them to be unhappy. We live in a "me-centered" society that constantly bombards us with the importance of "me time," but I have found that the more I find time for myself, the more time I want for myself. "Me time" is not a satisfying activity, it always leaves you wanting more and resenting the things that get in the way of having it. But time spent in nurturing another--it is time that is edifying and it serves to actually make a difference in the life of another. If you can't sit and read to a child for half an hour and feel that the time was well-spent, then something's wrong. And your children will know that you read simply out of obligation, not love.

In closing, I leave you with an experience Mr. Brooke and I remind each other of every now and then--it was a few years ago; I'm not even sure if Bluebird had been born yet. We were sitting in a booth, eating dinner at a Pizza Hut restaurant (remember those?). The booth behind was filled with a woman, her boyfriend, and a handful of very noisy children trying to secure the attentions of either adult. Those kids wanted to talk about anything with their mother! It was obvious that she was tired after a long day of work and that the boyfriend had instigated the outing. She gave short, curt answers to her children's questions and the boyfriend gently tried to persuade the children to leave their mother alone because she'd had a hard day at work, and then he'd attempt to engage the children in conversation. What makes the experience memorable was when the boyfriend said something like, "Isn't it nice to be eating pizza in a restaurant together?" and the mom replied with, "They'd better be enjoying it, I'm missing my show for this!"

To this day, whenever one of us notices that the other is putting our family at a lower priority than our own entertainment or interests, we teasingly say "I'm missing my show for this!" to the other. It's a funny (and sad) reminder that our family should come first, even when we're tired or have had a hard day and really just want to sit on the couch and not interact with anybody for the remainder of the evening. How many good memories are we keeping from happening when we opt to tune out our families?

My best adult memories have been those that center around time spent with my own family. Funny how the trend continues, no matter what our age or circumstances...home and family always matter most.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Keeping the Castle Running...

Princesses are high maintenance. (So's the Queen.)

Things are still going well around here, despite some serious hormonal dips every now and then that make it impossible for me to stop crying for about fifteen minutes. It's the weirdest thing and one of the most annoying parts of post-partum for me--you're just sitting there, thinking about whatever and then suddenly your mind fixates upon anything and everything that is possibly wrong or could ever go wrong in your entire life and you just bawl over the horror of it all and feel awful that you brought another person into a world full of such terrible things...and then a few minutes later, you're fine and going on to the next thing that needs attending.

Look at that chubby little thing! I spend a lot of time just kissing her cheeks and the tip of her cute little nose. She slept for a four hour stretch last night, which makes me feel so much more like a human being again. She was a week old yesterday and has finally cleared her jaundice blood tests. (I was getting really sick of having to get up at 6am to get her to the hospital at 7 for her blood draws...)

We're just going along. I'm only trying to make sure we all get dressed and the beds get made each morning along with eating somewhat nutritious meals at set intervals. I also try to run my slaves (laundry machines, dishwasher, bread machine) at least once a day because, hey, that's smart to make use of anything that will do my work for me. And I also try to read to the girls each day for at least half a hour. That's all I'm shooting for at the moment. It seems to be working well for the most part.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lovin' It



I'm not pregnant anymore.

Repeat that: I'm not pregnant anymore.

I have a beautiful new daughter and two wonderful other daughters who want to help and be loved as much as they can. I go to sleep each night thanking God for my blessings. Life is so good.

Mr. Brooke is going in to work a half day today...my first time with all three at once. I got a crack shot at two at once on Saturday when he went on a Daddy-Daughter Date with Bluebird. Rabbit and Little Lamb at the same time can be a little challenging, but Rabbit is happy to sit next to the rocking chair and drink out of my hospital mug while I nurse Little Lamb. (She actually takes the mug to Mr. Brooke to get it refilled whenever she notices that it's empty...it's hilarious to watch her stagger with the weight of the mug filled up as she brings it back to me!)

Mr. Brooke has already remarked numerous times that I'm tons better-seeming while I'm recovering from birth than while I was pregnant. If I ever decide to do the pregnancy thing again, I think I will look into anti-depressants...I think I have a problem with depression when I'm pregnant. I'm noticing so many little things now that are so easy and fine with me, but while I was pregnant they seemed absolutely hopeless and bleak. Weird.

But I better go now, it's time to embark on making lunch for my precious girls. *sigh* Life is wonderful.

Oh yes--thank you so much for all your lovely comments and emails! Each time I've opened my inbox the past few days, I received another happy thought from someone and I've really appreciated them!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Introducing Little Lamb

I woke up at midnight, felt a little funny and then my water broke. I asked for an epidural right up front, instead of waiting for the pain to get to where I couldn't take it anymore. (I highly recommend just getting it up front; a much more enjoyable experience and you feel much more dignified about the whole thing afterwards instead of wondering what the nurses said about you and your crazy screaming and crying.)

The epidural was wearing off when I delivered, so I did get to feel everything, just minus the pain. That was pretty cool. And the fact that from start to finish I only had to labor for five hours. (My body sucks at being pregnant, but is quite good with the labor and delivery thing!)

Bluebird loves "Baby" to death and Rabbit doesn't seem to care or really even notice her at all. When we got home from the hospital, Bluebird was right by my side as I got Little Lamb out of the carrier and helped me out by wrapping a blanket around her little sister...aw, so sweet.





Her hat is a little too big. But that's a good thing; it simply means she'll be able to wear it longer!


Mr. Brooke has said over and over how beautiful she is, and he spends a lot of time holding her and just cuddling. They took a nap together after we got home and it was pretty cute.

I'm totally smitten with her. And so happy that she decided to come sixteen days early. She's a rather mellow girl and loves to cuddle. I'm feeling rather good, albeit a touch tired. I think this is my favorite early Valentine's Day present ever.





(I laughed pretty hard when I checked my email and found your comments asking if I was having a baby because I'd been missing from the blogosphere for a couple days!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monitored Puttering

Excitement levels got a little high around here on Friday night. I started having some contractions every fifteen minutes for about two hours. (That's why you got a bonus post that day! It gave me something to do at 9pm...) But then the contractions petered out and I went to bed, where I spent a large portion of the night waking up to having a contraction. But by morning, all was calm at sea again.

Denise and I had a lunch date scheduled on Saturday to fulfill a pertinent craving I'd been having for Thai food and I was looking forward to it very much. (Especially after I informed my family that I would be leaving for lunch much earlier than I needed to because I planned on going to all the shops that I enjoy by myself.) Mr. Brooke agreed that it would be a nice thing for me to do...and then announced that he would be driving me to each location. Turns out that the hubby worries about me and wanted to keep an eye on me just in case I was wandering about and my water decided to break. I didn't want him to drive me everywhere, but figured it wasn't that big of a deal, so off we went. He'd drop me off somewhere I wanted to go and then he'd go take care of an errand while I puttered about in the shop until agreed-upon pick-up time.

I got to spend time at the yarn shop...a first for me in a very long time without having to run about frantically, keeping the girls from pulling yarn off the shelves. I perused the books, bought two of them, and also bought some beautiful turquoise yarn for one of the baby cardigans in one of the books. (Never mind that I have the yarn and patterns for two other baby cardigans already waiting for me in the craft room...I was suffering from an acute case of stash amnesia.)

Lunch was so amazingly good. There are few foods in this world that can surpass the wonderful taste of Beef Satay and Chicken Pad Thai. And the egg rolls. And the curry. Coconut milk and peanuts...who'd have thought they'd be so delectable together? (Well, duh, Thai people...) And then it turned out that a favorite quilt shop of mine had moved in semi-next door to the Thai restaurant, so Denise and I puttered about in there for a wee bit after lunch. There are too many interesting hobbies to have in this world...and so beautiful.

But the crowning achievement of the day came in the evening, when I was puttering about Wal-Mart. I know, you're thinking, "Something better than knitting or quilting happened at Wal-Mart?!?! Impossible!" But it's true:

I achieved the impossible by finding matching Easter dress for ALL THREE of my girls. For $70 less than I thought it was going to cost! And as I gaze upon these cute little confections of ribbon and polka dots, it hits me that I'm about to have three girls. And I really can dress them up and match them. And this seems glorious to me. I mean, I'm not going to force them to dress identical all the time...but I can do it every now and then and it's going to be so much fun. Of course, three new outfits costs a couple pennies...but matching/coordinated Easter and Christmas dresses are justified, yes?

Unfortunately, the dresses are sleeveless. Bluebird and Rabbit both have white cardigans that they can wear over theirs, and I'm not exactly familiar with what my 0-3 month stash of clothing contains. I will need to purchase white dress shoes for the older two girls and Bluebird is enthralled with the idea of wearing "socks with lace" instead of tights with her dress. And we'll need to visit the wondrous land of hair accessories. *sigh* Yarn, Thai food and matching little girl dresses. Life is good.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What Do Mormons Believe?

I thought I'd talk a little bit about it.

Now, my background is in history. I write papers that argue a point, I include footnotes and sources and all that stuff...but I'm not going to do that in this post. We're going to pretend that we're having a little chat, face-to-face, all friendly-like...if you would like citations and sources, feel free to ask, but I'm not going to turn this into a scholarly work. And feel free to ask more questions...I'll do my best to explain the answer.

1. Let's talk about polygamy. We don't practice it anymore, and anyone who does is NOT considered a part of our Church. There is an official declaration that is included in the standard LDS edition of the scriptures, and it's dated over a hundred years ago. No polygamy anymore. One wife only.

2. The Book of Mormon--we don't believe it usurps the Bible. We believe it to be another testament of Christ, much like a lot of people like to read the Apocrypha as an additional source of God's word and revelations. We believe that the Bible and the Book of Mormon complement each other in testifying of the divinity of Jesus Christ and God's plan for mankind.

3. The Trinity--we believe that God/Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings. A good example of this is found at Jesus's baptism...Jesus was in the water, the Holy Ghost was there in the form of a dove and God was speaking down from the heavens saying how pleased He was with His Son. They are one in that they are united in purpose, but three separate physical/spiritual beings.

4. We believe that God still speaks to us and that revelation isn't a thing of the past. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; He talked to His children during the time of the Bible, so He most definitely still talks to us today.

5. We believe that Joseph Smith was the first prophet of this dispensation. We don't worship him, we don't think he's a god...he was called, just like Moses, Noah, Abraham, etc. to lead God's work on earth. We believe that through Joseph Smith, God restored the full gospel to earth; complete with the priesthood and the temple.

6. We believe that the family is the central unit of God's plan and take the responsibility to raise up children on the strait and narrow very seriously. We believe that His commandment to Adam and Eve to "multiply and replenish the earth" is still in effect today...hence the stereotypical Mormon family with more than six children.

7. The Temple--it's where we go to "seal" families together for eternity. We believe that we can be together in our families in the next life, but that the welding links need to be made in God's temple here on earth. "What you seal here on earth will be sealed in heaven..." Getting married in the temple unites a husband and wife for time and all eternity instead of just "until death do you part." Any children born to a couple that has been sealed in the temple are theirs for eternity, including children who are stillborn, miscarried, etc.

8. The "Magic Mormon Underwear" are actually called garments. If you've been through the temple, you receive the privilege of wearing them. They cover from the shoulder down to above the knee and mostly serve to remind the wearer of the covenants they made in the temple. They are not actually magic.

9. We don't drink coffee, tea, alcohol or use tobacco. The "rule" behind this choice is called the Word of Wisdom, and we believe it to be a commandment of God...it's in Doctrine & Covenants (another book of scripture that we read), Section 89 if you're interested in reading it for yourself. In the Word of Wisdom we are also entreated to have a healthy diet. We believe that a mortal body is a special gift and that mistreating it offends God.

10. We do not do infant baptism/christenings. We believe that children are saved automatically through Christ's atonement until they reach the age of accountability (eight years old). When children reach the age of eight, they are fully capable of understanding right from wrong and can make the decision for themselves if they would like to join The Church. A child who dies before the age of eight automatically goes to Heaven.

And I've exhausted my store of commonly asked questions. Hopefully some of the answers can help dispel some myths or help to facilitate some mature discussion. The Church has two websites, Mormon.org and LDS.org, to help answer questions and provide resources. (Mormon.org is the official "explanatory" website.) You can always ask me more questions or strike up a conversation with those nice young men wearing suits and name tags. For some reason, people think we're rather hush-hush about our faith and I don't understand that assumption at all. If you want to know something, ask; I'll do my best to help clarify any confusion.

Another interesting read might be The Articles of Faith--these 13 statements were written by Joseph Smith in an attempt to explain our fundamental beliefs.

Cola Hangover

Lots of LDS/Mormon folk, in addition to not drinking tea, coffee or alcohol, do not drink beverages with caffeine in them. Tea, coffee and alcohol are covered by scripture for reasons not to drink, but I cannot find any solid reasoning behind why Mormons abstain from caffeine. The only reasoning behind the idea that I can come up with is that caffeine has the potential to be addictive, and being addicted to something interferes with your ability to really function according to God's will. (Don't think it's addictive? Try going cold turkey off of the stuff and enjoy the headache and cravings that will come along.) I tend to view the whole caffeine thing as some Pharasaic Mormon law that just sort of caught on and is now believed to be an actual rule.

That being said, I don't generally drink caffeine myself. BYU's vending machines and soda dispensers don't offer any soft drinks that contain caffeine, so in my years there I just got used to not drinking the stuff. (Caffeine-free Mountain Dew, anyone? Or how 'bout Caffeine-free Dr. Pepper? Yes, they make it!) I came back out into the world of caffeine, had a sip of something caffeinated and was amazed at how awful it made me feel. I'm not in the habit of purposely ingesting stuff that makes me feel lowsy, so I just leave caffeine alone now.

But caffeine has its definite perks--it works amazingly well in heightening a pain reliever's ability to counteract a headache and a couple sips of something caffeinated helps me to perk up on days where I just cannot seem to get rid of the feeling that I'm walking through pudding.

I was having a major pudding day yesterday and decided to imbibe a little on some Cherry Coke. Just a few swallows, that's all I needed. But then Mr. Brooke refilled the cup before we left the dining establishment, and later in the evening I got thirsty and finished the beverage off in the car.

Bad idea. I didn't fall asleep until 5am. Rabbit woke up at 7. And while I was stumbling around the kitchen in a foggy attempt to concoct breakfast, Mr. Brooke suggested that I treat my condition as a "cola hangover" and do what you would generally do with an alcohol hangover--drink a little more of the offensive beverage.

So here I sit, at 8:30 in the morning, with a McDonald's cup of Coke by my side. Mr. Brooke went to get me some cola, but then decided to just swing through the drive-thru and get me a much-coveted Sausage McMuffin and some McGriddle cakes for the girls. Mmmm, grease and caffeine, what a way to start the day.

The fog is beginning to clear a bit...I'll save half of my Coke for lunch so I can get through the rest of the day, and then I imagine I'll be quite ready to go to bed early tonight.

Bad caffeine. Boo. Hiss.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WIP Wednesday

I've been spending time with the Backyard Leaves scarf lately. It's made in two halves; I finished the first half before Christmas and then just kind of lost my enthusiasm for it until now. So far, I've gotten through four repeats of the pattern, which leaves only eight more to go. (It takes me a little over an hour to get through a repeat...I'm either the slowest knitter alive or the pattern is just hard to get through...you cannot memorize this thing!)

Can you see the leaves? I worry that I made a very bad choice in yarn for this and that it will be hard to decipher the pattern when it's done. I'm crossing my fingers that blocking will really make this scarf bloom into something pretty.

I know who this is for...and I'm aiming to have this done by the end of March, but I'm wondering if I should send it when it's done or just put it in the gift pile and wait until next winter/Christmas to send it? I also have a scarf picked out to make for the significant other of the gift recipient, so I think I'd like to wait until I at least have both done before sending them on their way. I have this grand vision of a "Scarf-filled Christmas," in which all my family receives a scarf for the holiday...wouldn't that be cool? But then I force myself to remember that I'm about to have another child and I have no clue how that is going to affect things. And then my pre-existing children are moving into the world of extracurricular activities, which really sucks up your time. So I'm not committing to the Scarf Christmas idea...but it sure would be neat. One of these years...very far into the future.

Speaking of the impending third child:
Thar she is. (Just in case you're wondering what the fraggly-looking thing at the bottom is--that's Rabbit's head...she's clingy while she gets over being sick...) We're at 36.5 weeks, people. 3.5 weeks to go, but I've been known to deliver in as little as 1.5 weeks from now. The anticipation is heightening, mostly because I am getting so uncomfortable. I feel like a manatee. I don't do much moving at all because the ligaments and tendons that connect my legs to my torso just feel so incredibly over-burdened with this extra weight and walking just plain hurts sometimes. She is head down, though; she had been breech for a while, but has finally turned. *sigh of relief* She kicks me in the kidneys and it makes me cry. (Oh, the inhumanity of having to experience internal kidney blows!) She rests her heels on my ribs and it hurts. I have non-stop heartburn and only eat two times a day because there is just no room to put more food into me than that. (I think God does this to us on purpose so that we will happily trade it all in for sleepless nights and breastfeeding...right now, those things sound deliriously easy and far more comfortable.) *weak woo-hoo* Almost done...and then we'll get to embark on the wonderful world of post-partum weight loss!!! Can you feel the excitement?!?!

Monday, February 4, 2008

More Thoughts on the Argyle Scarf

I've done some massive googling on this thing. It's the scarf on the cover of
Son of Stitch 'n B*tch, and I'm quite fond of it. The book is centered on knitting for men, so I originally was thinking to make it for one of my cousins, but Ashley effortlessly persuaded me to knit it for myself. (Perhaps as a "Good job on allowing your body to once again go through all the discomforts of pregnancy, here's a scarf to thank you for your efforts!" sort of reward?)

In my research, I have been able to read some very good reviews about what the book contains and I am SO GLAD that I did not purchase it. Knitted beer bottles, a dead bear with a honeybee drinking its blood, lots of skulls on stuff...I'm thinking NO. Oh, and the clincher for me--a scarf with a silhouette of a pole dancer on it. No thanks. But that argyle scarf--I have to make it.

It's called the "Uncle Argyle Scarf," and it calls for Cascade 220 yarn, which is a worsted weight yarn. The kicker, though, is that this thing is double knit; which, to all us beginner and non-knitting folks, means that you knit two sides at once. I have never attempted this, and I wasn't even really sure the technique existed before now, so I'm a little scared of the project. Not to mention that it's argyle and I'll have to juggle the two colors...this thing will be a challenge. It will take a very looooong time for me to complete, especially when my world turns upside with the addition of Little Lamb.

I'm thinking I'm going to go with a light and dark shade of pink for my colors. There's something about making a scarf intended for men out of the most girliest colors ever that makes me rather happy. (And perhaps a trifle smug...) And I've wanted a pink scarf for years now.

Hopefully it won't take too long to get the book through Interlibrary Loan.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bluebird's Fourth Birthday

I stayed home with Rabbit while Mr. Brooke and Bluebird went out and about to pick up the last of the party supplies...like these gigantic balloons. That's no optical illusion there, and it has nothing to do with distance perspective--those balloons are almost as big as Bluebird.

Here's another shot of them, right next to Rabbit. I could not believe the size of those things. Mr. Brooke seemed pleased to have found such a novelty for his little girl.

The lighting at the gymnastics gym is horrible, but here's some shots of my girls having fun:



And then, while I was sitting and talking with the other mamas, Rabbit came over to me and threw up all down the front of me. Lovely. We exited quickly to the bathroom to finish up the bout of sickness, and seeing how she was clad only in a diaper afterwards and I was completely soaked and smelling of virus, made the decision to go home and leave Mr. Brooke to tend to the remainder of the party. (And yes, I'm worrying and chewing my fingernails over whether or not we passed this on to the guests...)

And I got lucky that Bluebird's gymnastics teacher assumed I wanted someone to take over and take a picture of her with the cake:
I think she had fun. Four years old. Goodness me.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Little Einsteins Rocket Cake

I decorated under careful supervision from the Birthday Girl.

Bluebird was really excited about this whole thing.

Yes, I'm sticking my tongue out...I do that when I'm concentrating. Look at that enormous baby belly! Four more weeks to go...but I definitely wouldn't mind if she'd show up earlier!

Voila! I think it looks like its namesake.

By far, this has been one of the easiest cakes I've ever done. I didn't even have to make decorating frosting--I just used the stuff that comes in a can from the baking aisle. Two cans for red, and about 1/3 a can for the blue. The only "fancy" thing I used was a #5 writing tip to outline the window. Oh, and one half of a "Sports Ball" cake pan set.

I did not think this up on my own at all, but got the idea from AmazingMoms.com.

Now I'm off to wrap up a pair of Little Einsteins pajamas and a real Mickey Mouse scarf...she lost the one I made her, but I found one with Mickey Mouse on it for like $3. Sweet.

Peek A Boo!





Baby Gift!


My neighbor dropped this off this morning for my little lamb! And then she warned me that even though I now had a blanket for Baby, it was still not time for her arrival...have to wait until at least after Valentine's Day. *chuckle*

She made one for Rabbit when I was expecting her and says she plans to make one for Bluebird one day as well. Isn't that so cute? I love retired ladies who stay home and do stuff like this!